Rod Library--Special Collections
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA VICE PRESIDENT SUE FOLLON AT MAUCKER UNION SATURDAY, NOV. 7, 1998
CEDAR FALLS--Sue Follon, 56, of Cedar Falls, vice president for educational and student services at the University of Northern Iowa since 1985, died Wednesday, November 4, 1998, at Methodist Hospital, Rochester, Minnesota, following a year-long battle with cancer.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 7 at Maucker Union on the UNI campus. A reception will follow in the Union's Hemisphere Lounge.
"Sue personified community at UNI," said UNI President Robert Koob. "The warmth and understanding she demonstrated in her work with students and colleagues was a hallmark of her leadership. Her contribution to the sense of community here was incalculable. We will miss her very much."
Follon, who was the first woman to be named a vice president at UNI, was hired by former UNI President Constantine "Deno" Curris, now presdent at South Carolina's Clemson University. Curris said Thursday, "Jo and I are deeply saddened by the news of Sue's passing. She leaves a marvelous legacy of service to the state and to higher education. She was a person who never sought the limelight, but who accomplished so much on behalf of others, particularly in the area of equal rights.
"In terms of her role as vice president, I think of her strong student orientation and the caliber of people she hired for student services who were devoted to student development and the philosophy of a student-centered university."
Follon came to UNI following nine years as executive director of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women. Under her leadership, Iowa became the first state to carry out the 50 States Project, a national effort initiated by President Ronald Reagan, in which each state was to review its legal code for discriminatory language and seek to make changes when necessary.
Iowa's 50 States Report made more than 100 suggestions, many of which were subsequently passed. Other areas of accomplishment include progressive laws with regard to pay equity, rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, and education. An example of the impact such changes brought is that in 1972, a woman could be denied admission to medical school simply because she was a woman.
For her efforts, she received the ISCW's Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice, awarded only when the Commission deems there is a worthy recipient. Charlotte Nelson, Follon's successor at the ICSW, said Follon put so much effort into the passage of the addition of women to the Iowa Constitution, that she thought it was ironic that she died the day following its passage.
"I hope Sue was aware of this successful milestone," said Nelson. "I am so sad to hear of her passing. During her years of leadership with the ICSW, she made a significant difference in the lives of women and girls in this state. There was legislation passed which would not have happened without her leadership. She worked together with key leaders in the legislature, doing a review of the Code of Iowa for gender discrimination that resulted in the enactment of legislation to review state wages and establish them on the basis of comparable worth. Personally, I relied on her for counsel and advice, as well as a deep friendship."
Follon was appointed to the Commission by then Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray, and together, they worked to establish the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. Ray said Thursday he was saddened by her death. "Sue was a wonderful person with whom to work. I always enjoyed seeing her--she was a great supporter of mine politically. I don't even know her politics, she was just a great supporter.
"I believe she moved the cause of women's rights so far--as much as any person I know. I think this was because she knew people so well. She knew people were averse to change and understood that people responded to a cause when it was presented in a civil fashion. I always enjoyed seeing her and visiting with her. I think she did a lot of good work."
Follon was born June 22, 1942, the daughter of Oliver Franklin and Mary Rebecca Moore Follon. She is survived by her parents of Volga, Iowa; three brothers--James S. Follon of Omaha, and Mark Follon and Craig Follon, both of Volga; a sister, Joan Elaine Follon of New York City; a close personal friend, Patricia Geadelmann of Cedar Falls; and three nieces--Jamie D. Welch, Stacey Follon, and Tara Lynn Follon. break She is a 1963 graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant, with a B.S. degree in biology and chemistry. She received a master's degree in student personnel services from UNI in 1970, and the EdD. degree in higher education administration from Drake University in 1983.
From 1963-67, she taught secondary science at Delwood Community Schools, Delmar. She was a UNI residence hall director from 1967-70, and was associate dean of students and coordinator of student activities at Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, from 1970-76.
She held active leadership roles in numerous civic organizations and was past chair of the Executive Director's Association of the National Association of Commissions for Women and a past president of the Iowa Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors.
The family has requested memorials be made to the United Methodist Church of Volga, Iowa 52077, or the Dr. Sue Follon Scholarship for Women in Leadership, in care of the UNI Foundation, UNI, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614.
Local arrangements are being handled by the Dahl-Van Hove-Schoof Funeral Home, (319) 266-7525. There will be no visitation. Her body has been cremated.